Anything you desperately want but can’t get, always seems to take on epic proportions, like an elusive holy grail. The more you desire it, the more challenging the journey becomes. And pregnancy is no different. For me, it felt like a mountain that everyone else was climbing so easily while I was struggling to get half-way up. It wasn’t until I took the pressure off that the situation finally went my way.
Not going to plan
My first pregnancy was as easy as you like, happening within two months of trying. The second time around was a little more difficult. By this stage, I was over 40, that stage when fertility literally slips away like water. But I’d got pregnant so quickly the first time so I didn’t anticipate any problems.
We actually did fall pregnant quickly, but after eight weeks there was no heartbeat. Miscarriage was not on my agenda and I was completely shocked. Still, we kept going, and I discovered Chinese herbs, which seemed to help. We got pregnant again, but alas, miscarried once more. Still we kept going, trying to conceive every second day from day 10 to day 20, having acupuncture and enduring disgusting and incredibly expensive Chinese herbs.
Ready to give up
Finally, we got pregnant again, only to miscarry a third time. This all happened in about a year and a half and I was over it. Everyone around me was having their second, if not third child, and I didn’t see how it was going to happen for us. Finally, I decided to give up on the herbs and take my doctor’s recommendation of IVF. As we always got pregnant, I never thought it was something we would do. I didn’t believe it would help, but nonetheless, I suddenly found myself in an IVF clinic.
We had one meeting to discuss our situation and I told the doctor that we were in a fertile time that very week. He said to keep trying while we did all the preliminary tests. I don’t know if it was the fact that I had given up, or didn’t think IVF would work, but we got pregnant that week and never went back. This pregnancy was a good one and we got our second child.
Stress can be a factor
According to Dr Sneha Wadhwani, studies show that higher stress levels relate to higher levels of certain hormones in the female body, which may adversely affect the hormonal axis in the body – on which ovulation and therefore, fertility, is reliant. Studies also show that psychological interventions such as therapy may be of benefit.
Often when couples are desperately trying to no avail, their doctors suggest forgetting about it for a while or taking a holiday. And they find themselves pregnant in a flash. Sneha has seen this happen over and over again, not only with patients but also in her own personal experience. “Both my girls were conceived on holiday,” she says. “Because we were trying and working and trying and it was stressful, and then we went off to have a holiday and a break, and that’s when it happened.”
Sadly there are couples who suffer from serious fertility issues, which are another matter. But for many, taking a ‘holiday’ from trying can be just what the doctor ordered. Like watching a pot of water on the stove, it’s only going to boil when you walk away. We didn’t go on a holiday but something inside of me had let go of having another baby. I truly didn’t think that the pot would boil for me. But I was lucky, and it did.